It’s time to wrap up the last of our spooktacular October writing contests! All month long, we’ve been giving you prompts inspired by the things that creep and crawl in the dark. And we’ve had a fantastic response! If you haven’t read our previous winning entries, be sure to check them out here.
This week’s winning story comes to us from Sierra Donahue. She was able to take our prompt and really make it her own. Congrats Sierra! Check out the prompt and her story below.
Micah huddled in the dark of the alleyway, praying that they wouldn’t find him. This can’t be real, he told himself. They don’t exist. They’re only make-believe creatures that lurk under beds and in dark closets. But he had seen them, their faces flushed and full of blood, as they attacked and staked a jogger right in front of him. Humans! On the streets of New York!
You have 1000 words to write us a story about a world in which humans are the monsters that go bump in the night. You don’t have to use the prompt word for word, but you must touch on this topic in some way.
By Sierra Donahue
Raknu waited three hours before venturing out under the protective shroud of the darkened sky. Three hours of terror, waiting for night to rise. Three hours ignoring the cramps seizing his eight limbs. Three hours not knowing if he would be the only one to survive the day.
The moon was absent as Raknu crept from his hiding place. Crates jostled one another as he crawled into the alleyway, and, somewhere, a cracking tarp skittered across the cobblestones, blown by an unforgiving breeze. Raknu froze, awaiting the pounding of predatory footfalls.
Alone, petrified, and aching, the last citizen of Gehenn looked over the wreckage he once called home, and sobbed. He knew noise risked attracting more hunters, but he didn’t care. He wished they would find him and finish him off so he could lay in bloody slumber with the rest.
“Humans!” he shouted. “Come! Finish what you’ve started!”
It was not the sharp impact of a human bullet that silenced Raknu, but a powerful fist from behind. Raknu did not see his assailant as he slumped to the street.
“Hush, now,” a cool voice whispered. “Everything’s going to be -”
But Raknu never heard what everything would be, because the darkness quickened in and carried him to sleep.
Raknu tensed. The hands stroking his limbs were five-fingered. He didn’t want to open his eyes. Didn’t want to face the human that would surely strangle him as soon as it realized he was awake.
A cool voice – the same voice that had spoken to him in Gehenn – interrupted his morbid anticipation.
“How fares the spiderson?”
Immediately, Raknu relaxed. No human voice could hold the comforting chill and regularity of icicles drip-dripping on a winter’s day. No human smelled like burning cinnamon groves. And the hand still stroking his limbs, he realized, held no pulse.
He opened first one eyelid, then the rest, until all eight beheld the comforting sight before him. A beautiful woman sat cross-legged on the ground beside him. When she smiled, her sharp teeth reaffirmed what he already knew.
“My lady.” Raknu’s first impulse was to bow, but his position, sprawled prone on the ground, made this impossible. “I’ve never beheld a vampire before.”
She laughed, a sound of glass shattering, refracting light.
“You cannot know how pleased we were to find you,” she said. “We thought all of Gehenn was lost in the slaughter. We arrived too late, and the humans had retreated in their shiny metal death carriers -”
“We?” Raknu interrupted.
He didn’t want to be rude, but he could not yet bear to think of his lost home.
The vampire nodded, unfazed.
“I, Lithia, belong to a sect of warriors,” she said. “Many are vampires, but other creatures of the darkness have joined our cause of late as human violence escalates. We even boast a spiderson like yourself among our numbers.”
For the first time since the human attack, Raknu allowed himself to hope. He thought he was the last of his kind, but if other spidersons still lived . . .
“Who is this spiderson?” he asked.
“He comes not from your great city,” she said. “Alas, you were the only one we saved from the wreckage. This spiderson, he calls himself Allyksi.”
As if summoned, another spiderson emerged from the shadows of the cavern. He bowed low so that his thorax almost touched the floor. A webbed bundle slipped from his back and rolled to the floor, where it continued to squirm.
“I am Allyksi,” said the spiderson to Raknu. “It is a great pleasure to finally welcome another of my kin among our ranks -”
Lithia held up her hand.
“Allyksi is eager,” she said. “But of course we do not demand your allegiance to our cause. It is our goal to save as many as we can, and establish them safely far from the threat of human conquest. You are free to go when and where you wish, as soon as you are rested.
“Or you may stay and fight with us,” she added with a smile. “We always welcome sincere fighters to our cause.”
Allyksi bobbed his thorax once, twice.
“We will not rest until the humans have paid for their crimes against the darkness,” he said.
Raknu curled his legs, stretched, then flipped to standing. Now eye level with Allyksi and the seated Lithia, he bowed low.
He didn’t need to contemplate his choice – for what choice was there? A life alone, mourning the death of his kin, or a life of hope? If not hope for himself, at least for others who had yet to face the terror of humanity.
“It would be an honor to serve with you,” he said.
A muffled moan escaped the squirming parcel Allyksi had deposited.
“We did find one last straggler within Gehenn’s outskirts,” Lithia said. “Allyksi brought it here for you, Raknu. A small condolence for your loss.”
Allyksi was already shredding the webbing around one end of the parcel. The moans escalated until a head of brown, tousled hair appeared. A human head.
Raknu took several steps back, but Allyksi motioned calmly with his front limbs.
“He is the captive now, friend. We are the victors here.” He motioned Raknu forward. “Please, drink. Unless my lady has need for blood?”
Lithia shook her head.
“I will have my fill when we take Los Angeles,” she said. “Please, Raknu, replenish your strength.”
An attack on a human city? Raknu had never heard of such a thing. Looking at the human before him, hunger vanished. What made him so different from the predatory humans when he feasted on the helpless?
But this man had aided the attack on Gehenn. Perhaps he had killed Raknu’s family. He deserved nothing less than the highest agonies of hell.
Even so, Raknu slipped his venom into the human’s neck before Allyksi or Lithia could stop him. The man would feel no pain as Raknu drained his life.